Growing the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

Scott BurakFor more than 20 years, the UNI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) has provided unparalleled entrepreneurship programming and guidance to students of all ages. From summer camps that teach 4th graders marketing and sales strategies for their charitable lemonade stands to providing incubation space and guidance to college students running their own businesses right on campus, the UNI JPEC takes great pride in providing a wealth of resources and programming.

One way the UNI JPEC assists students is through the R. J. McElroy Student Business Incubator. Incubator tenants are given office space, as well as the support and resources they need to run their business. Often these students continue their success as entrepreneurs after graduation. In fact, more than 70 percent of incubator graduates are still involved in an entrepreneurial-related business, a fact that can surely be attributed to the knowledgeable and supportive staff. As the UNI JPEC’s associate director Laurie Watje puts it, “We provide that fertile ground for relationships to bloom."

A prime example of this at work is the story of Scott Burak (digital advertising, interactive digital studies '17). When Burak stepped onto the UNI campus in 2015, he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do. He and a business partner had launched a digital marketing company and were running it out of his basement and his business partner’s dorm room on another campus, but then Burak took an internship with a company run by Russell Karim in the R. J. McElroy Student Business Incubator. That was all it took; he wanted to be a part of everything the UNI JPEC had to offer.

Burak is just one of many students who have built a career out of the skills gained through the UNI JPEC. Students who interact with this program gain an incredible set of skills experience, all backed by the unrelenting support of the staff. The implications of this are clear: the UNI JPEC equips its students for success.



Join us for UNI Day at the Iowa State Capitol from noon to 2 p.m., Monday, Feb. 18. It's a day for lawmakers to meet our outstanding students and faculty, learn about the wonderful programs UNI has to offer, take a picture with TC and hear a performance by a string quartet representing UNI’s School of Music.


Story excerpt taken from UNIBusiness News.